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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Help spread a little warmth in Cumbria during winter

A fund to stop older people dying because of the cold this winter has returned for its third year.

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A WARM WINTERS TALE: The Rt Rev James Newcome, Bishop of Carlise, reads a tale to children at the launch of Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Fund at Greta Hall, Keswick

Cumbria Community Foundation launched its Winter Warmth Fund in Keswick on Tuesday with the help of the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, and children from four schools in the Keswick area.

Andy Beeforth, director of the Dovenby-based foundation, said: “In the first year we raised and distributed a pot of £10,000.

“Last year our donations quadrupled, bringing in £42,000 which directly helped 433 pensioners in need.

“We’re hoping that people will be generous so we can help even more older people this winter.”

The foundation asks for donations for the fund which is then distributed to those in extreme need.

Some donations come from older people who get the Government’s winter fuel payment but feel they don’t need it as much as others.

An average of 300 deaths occur in Cumbria each year because of the effects of the cold weather.

Bishop James said: “I was touched by the stories of some of the many hundreds of people who were helped by last year’s Winter Warmth Appeal.

“Their bodies were warmed by other people’s generosity and so was my heart.”

The fund was launched with a competition inviting children to recreate the Winter Warmth Fund logo out of building bricks and a woolly hat.

School children across the county are building and knitting to raise awareness of the fund and to be in with a chance of claiming £200 worth of Derwent Pencils for their school.

The Cumberland Pencil Company has given six prizes for the school in each council district that comes up with the best recreation of the Winter Warmth Fund logo.

Sir Tony Cunningham, MP for Workington, said: “Getting the children involved in raising awareness is a great way to spread the word in our communities.

“This appeal is great because it is people in Cumbria directly helping others in need across the county.”

The ratio of winter-related deaths is higher in Cumbria than most of the UK, and the elderly are among the most vulnerable.

This winter there are more than six million UK households living in fuel poverty; around two thirds are in rural areas.

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